The second season of the Apple TV+ musical comedy series “Schmigadoon!” upped the ante in every possible way, largely owing to the Broadway musical that served as the backbone of Season 2: “Chicago.”
“I like to be challenged,” Emmy-nominated cinematographer Jon Joffin said in a new installment of TheWrap’s “How I Did It,” presented by Apple TV+. “They told me with Season 2 they wanted it to be grittier and more like ‘Chicago,’ ‘Cabaret,’ and they even threw in ‘Hair’ and ‘Godspell,’ so there were all these different looks mingling and it was very exciting.”
While the show’s first season paid tribute to the Golden Age musicals of the 1940s and 50s, the second season finds New York doctors Josh (Keegan-Michael Key) and Melissa (Cecily Strong) trying to return to Schmigadoon, only to discover Schmicago – a city that’s a loving tribute to the musicals of the ‘60s and ‘70s, particularly of the Bob Fosse variety.
To that end, Emmy-nominated choreographer Christopher Gattelli worked closely with Joffin on all of the season’s musical numbers.
“I feel like Fosse really upped the ante in terms of how he used the camera to film dance, so aside from just the choreography, it was also trying to replicate the different camera angles so it had that ’60s, ’70s feel as well,” Gattelli said. “It was such a great marriage of [Jon] understanding the style and really understanding how to heighten the dance the way they did in that period.”
The cinematography of the season was crafted as if the viewer were in the audience in the theater, so Joffin executed these challenging shots while capturing the musical numbers with multiple cameras.
“Everything is shot pretty much from one angle at a time as if you’re the audience in the theater, so I tried not to be too fancy with the shooting. We had four cameras, but we would keep them very close together and we would vary the sizes.”
Star Jane Krakoswki was especially keen on tackling “Chicago” for this season, and Gattelli said her musical number in the courtroom went incredibly smoothly.
“She’s like, ‘I’ve never done ‘Chicago’ and it’s my favorite show, that’s why I’m a performer,’” Gattelli recalled. “So this was also exciting for her because she got to fulfill a little dream. We knew it was ambitious, but Jane got everything the first time. It took longer to move the camera than it did to capture the footage because she was so on top of it.”
“Schmigadoon!” Season 2 is now streaming on Apple TV+.